1. Care for Yourself First. Become aware of your emotional, spiritual, and physical needs through journaling. Begin with the words “I feel” or “I need” or “I am”. Create new ways to meet your needs. If you don’t know how, think of a role model. Identify and practice daily habits that are self-nurturing and healing. If you have difficulty taking good care of yourself, take good care of your children's parent, your pet’s master, or your plant’s feeder.

2. Reach out. Be careful not to isolate yourself. Use the support systems available to you: counseling, Codependents Anonymous or other self-help groups, your church, your family, or your circle of close friends. Your closest friends are those whom you have shared painful times with. It is a gift to others to let them know how they can best support you. Articulate your needs.

3. Communicate Honestly and Appropriately with Your Children & Friends. This does not mean burdening them with full emotional disclosure. It does mean letting them know that you, too, are experiencing sadness and loss, and that it is a perfectly natural part of the transition you are going through. Let them know, to the best of your ability, what to expect in the way of changes in schedules, schools, childcare, and living arrangements, and what they can count on to remain the same.

4. Allow Time and Space for Grieving. Even desired changes involve a grief process. Grief cannot be rushed, but it does not have to be debilitating. You have not only lost the relationship/person that you had, but, perhaps even more importantly, you are grieving the loss of the dream you had for your life and a whole identity. Build time and space into your life to be alone, with close friends, with your journal, taking long walks, watching movies, or whatever else you like to do when you are depressed.

5. Ritualize the Transitions. Rituals are intentional, repeated practices such as lighting candles, affirmations, prayers, chants and songs, visualizations, or any other activity that is meaningful to you. Rituals can be adopted, adapted, or totally original. These actions become invested with meaning because they are deliberate, and because of their association with a time, event, or emotional state. Rituals are emotionally powerful. They make the abstract concrete, and help give meaning to your experience. Small rituals around acknowledging the changes and releasing the dreams and the pain can take very little time, but be extremely healing and sustaining. An excellent resource is, "Good Grief Rituals: Tools for Healing," by Elaine Childs-Gowell.

6. Hold a Vision of Your Future. Clarify the path you want to be on, and acknowledge your steps in the direction of your desired life. Reward yourself for even small successes.

7. Maintain and Build Your Integrity. Clarify your values and needs. Carefully identify the areas of your life where you are out of integrity -- not honoring your own needs and not living according to your values -- and make changes daily to bring yourself into integrity. You are not defined by your past. Each day presents an opportunity to be the person you want to be.

8. Claim Your Space. This doesn't mean purging your environment of every trace of your lost love. Particularly if you have children, be sensitive to their need for consistency and stability in the face of all of the changes. But do give some thought to what kind of environment truly reflects your tastes, your priorities, and your interests, and make changes that feel empowering and validating to you.

9. Claim your identity, both for yourself as an individual, and for your family as a complete whole. It is common to feel as though you are walking around with parts of yourself missing, particularly if you have been partnered for a long time. Holidays can be an especially difficult time for this. Look at the assumptions you are making and the cultural and family messages you have internalized, and redefine your own paradigm of home or family. Make the new paradigm concrete: take a family portrait of yourself and the kids, send out your holiday letter and sign it "The Johnson Family" (with your own name, of course!), maintain/adapt old family traditions and create new ones.

10. Stay present with the process. Resist the temptation to self-medicate with television, alcohol, or other escapes. This is an opportunity for growth and self-development that, although you would never have chosen it, you will come to value immensely if you use it well.

Author's Bio: 

UnTherapy®, developed by Sunny Massad is a process that can help you to live your life by design. These counseling skills, that I have been teaching for 15 years, mirror the principles of “The Secret,” but in addition provide practical methods for re-educating and breaking free of your own and other people’s subconscious patterns. For more information go to: http://www.untherapy.com or http://www.hawaiiwellnessinstitute.org